Bitesized Blighty: June 21, 2019
Talking Green In London
- Heathrow Airport is expected to construct it's controversial third runway by 2026, and set to complete its expansion, including new terminals and access by 2050. On Tuesday, a 12-week public consultation began, with campaigners warning of the severe impact for years to come, based on the plans which include diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 through a tunnel under the new runway. Although Heathrow has put a £14bn figure on its expansion costs, others say the true figure will be nearer £30bn, and eventually passed on to airlines and passengers. In response to the plans, Greenpeace UK responded that “Heathrow say they can double the number of flights without increasing road traffic, air pollution, carbon emissions or noise. And hapless transport minister Chris Grayling apparently believed them.”. The statutory consultation process will continue until September 13, after which the plans will be submitted by inspectors at a planning inquiry next year, with Mr Grayling expected to give approval in 2021.
- On Thursday, The University of Birmingham announced that the first hydrogen-powered train in the UK, HydroFLEX, was ready for testing on the mainline railway, after passing a successful proof-of-concept. The trains, described as "Mini power stations on wheels" by the project director Alex Burrows, do not emit harmful gasses and use hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, water and heat. Hydrogen trains are incredibly rare, and the only two in active service are in Germany. With Hydroflex tester train, Britain is looking to become one of the next countries to start running them, and hopes to have the trains ready to transport passengers in the UK in two years.
- A Car Free Day in the capital has been announced by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. The event, which is set to take place on September 22, 2019, will see the closure of 12.3 miles of roads in the capital spanning 18 London boroughs including major roads around Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the City of London. London's Car Free Day 2019 is designed to tackle air pollution, which is a particular issue affecting the city. The day’s celebrations across the capital will include live music, sports and games, treasure hunts, guided walking routes, food markets and art installations, and BMX rides and skate ramps will be set up around the city. Meanwhile, Londoners can walk around the Totally Thames festival and join in with activities to mark the 125th anniversary of Tower Bridge. In a statement, Mr Khan said "This will be a great opportunity for us all to leave our cars behind and explore our streets by foot, or by bike.". The Mayor hopes that the Car Free Day events will be the best of any world city and wants to encourage as many Londoners as possible to join in the fun, with the hope that they see the city from a different perspective.